Chennai: Chief Minister MK Stalin has submitted two memorandums to PM Modi with regard to the retrieval of the Katchatheevu island.

Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday said that their top most agenda is to retrieve the Katchatheevu island that is currently controlled by Sri Lanka, to resolve the recurring issues faced by fishermen.

Katchatheevu island is where Tamil Nadu’s fishermen in districts like Rameshwaram go since Indian waters are depleted of fish. The fishermen cross the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) to reach the island but get detained by Sri Lankan Navy.

The policy note submitted by government mentioned that over 80,000 fishermen directly depend on fishing in Palk Bay districts which includes fishermen from Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam.

But in recent times the arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly crossing maritime border has left the Indian fishermen in a spot of bother.

"The prolonged incarceration of our fishermen and their fishing boats by the Sri Lankan government has been causing a sense of anxiety and insecurity among the fishermen community of Tamil Nadu as a whole," said the police note.

The government said that only solution to this crisis is to "reiterate the government's consistent stand that a permanent solution to this vexatious problem faced by our fishermen will be possible only by restoring India's sovereignty over Katchatheevu, thereby restoring their rights to fish in their traditional waters."

The principal note also mentioned that the government is making tireless efforts for the retrieval of Katchatheevu, unilaterally given by the union government to Sri Lanka in 1974.

Chief Minister MK Stalin has submitted two memorandums to PM Modi on June 17, 2021 and April 1, 2022 with regard to the retrieval of the Katchatheevu island. Memorandums were also submitted to Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying to arrive at a permanent solution to the problems faced by Tamil Nadu fishermen and to restore their right to fish in the traditional waters.

At present, there are 2,490 mechanised fishing vessels, 12,443 motorized fishing vessels and 1,020 country crafts that are engaged in fishing in the traditional waters of the Palk Bay area.

In his letter AIADMK leader O Paneerselvam said, "Sri Lankan Court has fixed a bail amount of Rs 1 crore each to release the poor fishermen. This order of Sri Lankan Court is upping the ante in terms of punishment to the fishermen of Tamil Nadu. The fishermen of Tamil Nadu venture out to sea for fishing only with the constant fear of being attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy."

OPS also requested the External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to immediately intervene to help get the fishermen and their fishing boats back to India.